A U.S. District judge has dismissed charges against an FBI sharpshooter in the 1992 Ruby Ridge shooting of the wife of white separatist Randy Weaver.
Judge Edward Lodge, in an order dated Tuesday, dismissed the state manslaughter indictment of Lon Horiuchi at the request of Boundary County Prosecutor Brett Benson, who said it was unlikely the country could prove the charge given the amount of time that has passed since the shooting.
Benson announced he would drop the case on June 14, a move criticized by his predecessor, Denise Woodbury, who brought the charge against Horiuchi.
A sharply divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier rejected federal claims that Horiuchi was automatically immune from prosecution because he was acting in his official capacity when he killed Vicki Weaver.
The majority said Horiuchi could be tried if he was found to have acted illegally in his official capacity.
Government Admits No Wrongdoing
Mrs. Weaver died on the second day of the 11-day siege that began in a shootout that left the Weavers' teenage son and a deputy U.S. marshal dead.
The siege ended without further bloodshed. Weaver and family friend, Kevin Harris, were both acquitted the next year of murder and all other charges filed against them in connection with the confrontation.
The Justice Department last summer settled the last civil suit stemming from the standoff. The government admitted no wrongdoing but paid Harris $380,000 to drop his $10 million civil damage suit.
In 1995, the government paid Weaver and his three surviving children $3.1 million for the killings of his wife and son.